Dale Earnhardt Jr. Crew Chief Named for 2015 Season - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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home : features : strap in February 6, 2016

7/31/2014 10:00:00 PM
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Crew Chief Named for 2015 Season
Lantagne Wins
Bernie Lantagne (3) became the seventh different Late Model winner in nine races at the North Woodstock (NH) Speedway, July 26. He’s racing here with Michael Jurkowski (42), Ryan Olsen (61) and Stacy Cahoon (83). (Photo by Big Bigelow)
+ click to enlarge

Lantagne Wins

Bernie Lantagne (3) became the seventh different Late Model winner in nine races at the North Woodstock (NH) Speedway, July 26. He’s racing here with Michael Jurkowski (42), Ryan Olsen (61) and Stacy Cahoon (83). (Photo by Big Bigelow)

Point Leader
Thunder Road Late Models point leader Nick Sweet (88), here racing with Jason Corliss (66) and Cody Blake (99), went into last night with a three-point lead over Dave Pembroke. Corliss is sixth in points, one spot better than Blake. (Photo by Alan Ward)
+ click to enlarge

Point Leader

Thunder Road Late Models point leader Nick Sweet (88), here racing with Jason Corliss (66) and Cody Blake (99), went into last night with a three-point lead over Dave Pembroke. Corliss is sixth in points, one spot better than Blake. (Photo by Alan Ward)


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2013 Champion Terry Williams (97) making room underneath Jason Colbeth.


Biggy can be reached at
R. Bigelow, 294 Hillside Dr., St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
or mailto:biggy@charter.net


Greg Ives will rejoin Hendrick Motorsports following the 2014 NASCAR season. Ives, 34, was race engineer for Jimmie Johnson’s five consecutive championships (2006-10). He will work alongside Johnson’s crew chief Chad Knaus in the shop shared by the Nos. 48 and 88 Chevy SS teams.

“Greg was our No. 1 choice,” said Rick Hendrick, “This is a talented guy who already has a terrific rapport with Dale Jr. and is a fit with the organization. He and Chad had a lot of success together, and all of our crew chiefs think the world of him and what he’s accomplished. Greg’s proven that he can win races, and he has all the tools to do big things.”

Since his debut as a crew chief for JR Motorsports in 2013, Ives has won five NASCAR Nationwide Series races including three this season with rookie and current point leader Chase Elliott.

Ives joined Hendrick Motorsports as a mechanic in 2004 before moving into an engineering role on the 48 team in 2006. In seven years working with Knaus, he contributed to 42 wins, 113 top 5 finishes and 21 pole positions in the Sprint Cup Series. In November 2012, Ives transitioned to JR Motorsports as crew chief for driver Regan Smith. The duo won two races and finished third in points in 2013 before Ives was named Elliott’s crew chief prior to this season. JR Motorsports works closely with Hendrick Motorsports and is owned by Earnhardt in partnership with Rick Hendrick

Cup Stuff

NASCAR will not allow drivers already in the playoffs to participate in the Goodyear tire test at Homestead-Miami Speedway, August 26. Teams have been told they can have non-playoff drivers at the test.

But what about Team Penske who only has two drivers, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, and both of them are in the playoffs? If Kasey Kahne wins one of the next four races then Hendrick would have all four of their drivers in, too.

The press release said to ensure fairness, “Teams will have to use drivers from outside its immediate organization for a substitute.” The test is two races before the cutoff. What if Kahne goes to test and then wins five days later at Bristol?

To “ensure fairness” why not just let all teams send playoff-eligible drivers and drivers they think still have a shot at making the playoff? Sometimes simple is best.

• Jeff Gordon’s win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was also his 445th career top 10 finish, which is fourth all time. The current top three are Richard Petty (712), Mark Martin (453) and Bobby Allison (447).

• Danny Hamlin’s No. 11 was penalized at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend for approved parts that fail or are improperly installed to fail in their intended use of great importance … e.g.; rear wheelwell panels that fail and allow air evacuation in the trunk area; oil box cover that fails and allows air evacuation in the driver compartment; shifter boot cover that fails and allows air evacuation through the floor pan.

Crew chief Darian Grubb was fined a total of $125,000 and he was suspended for the next six events and he’ll be on probation for the next six months.

Car chief Wesley Sherrill has been suspended for the next six events and will be on probation for the next six months. The infraction also cost the team 75 driver and owner points.

Joe Gibbs Racing plans to appeal the penalty, however crew chief Darian Grubb and car chief Wesley Sherrill will begin to serve their suspensions starting this weekend in Pocono.

According to an unnamed crew chief, “If the block-off plates are not sealed off sufficiently, air can flow through the firewall enabling the car to gain anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds of rear downforce.”

Docking the team points doesn’t hurt them a bit. Because Hamlin has a win, he’s headed to the playoffs and not worried about points. Once the playoffs start, the points are reset four times.

• Dave Moody (http://motorsports-soapbox.blogspot.com/) reported Jack Roush announced his drivers for 2015 and, “With all due respect, the biggest news concerns who does not appear on the roster.”

RFR confirmed it will have three Cup teams next season for drivers Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne. Dave says, “Noticeably absent from that lineup is Carl Edwards. Edwards is universally believed to be headed for a fourth Toyota entry at Joe Gibbs Racing next season, and for the second time in the last three years, RFR majority owner Jack Roush has spilled the beans with an unusual July announcement concerning his driver roster for the following season. Two years ago, Roush outed Matt Kenseth’s departure plans in similar fashion, announcing that the former Sprint Cup Series Champion would not return to the fold in 2013.”

Moody also wrote, “There is no love lost between Jack Roush and Toyota Racing. Never has been, never will be. After spotting an employee’s Toyota truck in the RFR parking lot years ago, Roush famously paid that employee in Japanese yen. He repeatedly refers to Toyota as “the dark side” and enjoys trumping the rival automaker at every turn.


Practice day at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the American Canadian Tour Late Model teams is set for August 19. If you intend to participate you need to contact Tina Gallison at tb@acttour.com or 802.244.6963 (ext. 4). It’s important you pre-register so they can get the tire inventory in place and let NHMS know how many teams are expected so they can also get staffing, safety and the infield restaurant prepared for the day.

There will be 20 invitations going to teams within the next week for this year’s consideration to attend the 2014 invitational. Others will follow over the next few weeks.

If you have never raced with ACT at NHMS and you are interested in being considered you must attend the practice session and participate in the simulated race.

Short Tracking

AMERICAN CANADIAN TOUR – The Late Model Tour had last weekend off.

• August 9 they head to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, ME. Beech Ridge has hosted seven Tour events and has seen seven different winners. Last August, Eddie MacDonald fought with Joey Polewarczyk Jr. and rookie Bobby Therrien to claim the win in the 150-lap event.

Other winners there are Austin Theriault, Jeff Taylor, Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Brian Hoar, Pat Corbett and Dave Whitcomb.

• Polewarczyk Jr. has a comfortable 56-point lead over second place racers Jimmy Hebert and Emily Packard.

Polewarczyk Jr. has compiled an impressive record during the first six races of the season. Although he’s winless, he has three second-place finishes, two third-place finishes and two fourth-place finishes. He also led the Pro All Star Super Late Model event at Beech Ridge and contended for wins in the Star and White Mountain PASS events he entered this year. He won the Lee USA Granite State Pro Stock race last Friday night.

He said, “I guess you could say we are a little frustrated that we have not won an ACT race yet this year, but our goal was to win the ACT Championship and we have worked hard to position ourselves as we head to the home stretch. I like the third-mile at Beech Ridge, it is kind of a neutral track for ACT, and nobody really has a lot of laps there so we kind of all start out on a clean page. I really want a win, so hopefully we will get lucky and take care of that next week.”

Two veterans, Ray Parent and two–time and defending ACT Champion Wayne Helliwell, are less than 20 points from Packard and Hebert.

PRO ALL STAR SERIES – The PASS Super Late Models had last weekend off. August 5 (Tuesday) the Series heads north of the border to Chaudiere, Quebec.

Points – 1. Johnny Clark 1,739, 2. DJ Shaw 1,717, 3. Mike Rowe 1,707, 4. Joey Doiron 1,674, 5. Travis Benjamin 1,662, 6. Glen Luce 1,626, 7. Cassius Clark 1,615, 8. Curtis Gerry 1,545 9. Ben Rowe 1,533, 10. Richie Dearborn 1,003.

THUNDER ROAD – On July 24 Jason Corliss claimed his second career Late Model win and became the first repeat winner in the division for 2014. He came from the ninth starting spot and got under Phil Scott late in the 50-lap event.

• Dylan Payea earned his first Tiger Sportsmen win of the season and the second of his career while Jaden Perry started 10th and drove to the front to claim his first career Street Stock win.

Late Model Points headed into last night (July 31) – 1. Nick Sweet 630, 2. Dave Pembroke 627, 3. Trampas Demers and Derrick O’Donnell 619, 5. Eric Badore 598, 6. Jason Corliss 590, 7. Cody Blake 585, 8. Scott Dragon 570, 9. Phil Scott 569, 10. John Donahue 555.

• Thunder Road races Thursday nights with a 6:30 p.m. post time.

BEAR RIDGE SPEEDWAY – Rookie TC Forward became the eighth different winner in the DIRTcar Bond Auto Parts Sportsman Modifieds on August 23.

• Thomas Placey in the DIRTcar Sportsman Coupes and Hunter Garduno in the Hornets claim their second wins of the season.

• Jason Giguere continues to solidify his points lead in the Limited Late Models, cruising to his fourth win of the season.

Sportsman Mods Points – 1. Jason Colbeth 758, 2. Josh Harrington, 3. Melvin Pierson 701, 4. Thomas Placey 667, 5. Matt Ellsworth and Michael Danforth 663, 7. Logan Oliver 658, 8. Earl Maxham 650, 9. Jeremy Beckley and Mitchell Frost 639.

• August 2 – The card will include the Sportsman Modifieds, Sportsman Coupes, Limited Late Models, Fast Fours, and Hornets. Plus the Granite State Mini Sprints will be on hand and Kids bike races. Post time is 6 p.m.

WHITE MOUNTAIN MOTORSPORTS PARK – Bernie Lantagne became the seventh different Late Model Winner in nine races at the North Woodstock (NH) Speedway, July 26. He joins Travis Fadden and Stacy Cahoon who are the only guys with two wins so far in 2014. Fadden has only run three events and his other finish was a second. Other winners there are Jeremy Harclerode, Brandon Allbee, Ryan Olsen and Michael Martell.

Points – 1. Michael Jurkowski 545, 2. Stacy Cahoon 543, 3. Oren Remick 537. 4. Glenn Martel 536, 5. Harclerode 518, 6. Lantagne 501, 7. Allbee 498, 8. Olsen 492, 9. Russell Clark 446 10. Mike Kenison 304.

• August 2 all six divisions Late Models, Tigers, Strictly Stocks, Strictly Stock Minis, Dwarf Cars and Kids Trucks. The Strictly Stock Minis will be running a special triple 25s event. Post time is 6 p.m.

Until Next Week

Support your local race track while you still can. But remember: “If you’re not having fun stay home and don’t bother those of us who are.”


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